26 Mar 2014

Dairy farmer wins Ballance award

3:45 pm on 26 March 2014

A mid-Canterbury dairy farmer says his business's relentless effort to try to become more sustainable is behind it winning the Supreme Award at the 2014 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Mark Slee runs Melrose Dairy, an 890ha dairy farm south of Ashburton. It has three dairy sheds, milking more than 2500 cows.

Mr Slee says the way the farm is managed today is completely different to what was happening 10 years ago, with a huge emphasis now on water management and new technologies aimed at efficiency.

They've also planted 10,000 native plants on the farm and introduced a new irrigation system.

"Farmers have to walk a tight-rope at the moment ... we want to be sustainable as a business we've got 13 staff and families working on this farm.

"We've got probably between 50 and 80 businesses that rely on our farm to provide them with income as well," said Mr Slee.

"So we've to walk the fine line between sustainability and profitability and we need to look at technology and science to help us in the future."